Dear 6th grade Parent
As a seventh grader next year your student will have the opportunity to participate in the nationally renowned
Farmington Jr. High band program. The Farmington Junior High Band program is nationally recognized as one of
the best programs in the country. If you would like your student to show an increase in responsibility, exhibit more
discipline, improve academic skills, gain a life-long talent, and more importantly feel a sense of self worth and
accomplishment, then you want to get them involved with the band program at Farmington Jr. High.
All seventh graders are required to take a music class. Your student’s participation in the band program will fulfill
much more than the required music credit. Our classes meet every day as a part of the school schedule. All students
are welcome with no musical experience necessary. The beginning band program will teach your student everything
they need to know in order to be successful on their instrument. You may rent or buy your instrument from local
music stores at very reasonable rates. Our local music vendors are very aware of the economy and are going to great
lengths to insure that instruments will be affordable for anyone who desires to play.
You do not need to choose what instrument your child will play at this time, we will assist you with that. You just
need to make the decision to play an instrument. Please see the reverse side of this sheet for a list of instruments
beginning students can choose from and important information regarding each of these instruments. After registering
for band we will meet with each student and parents individually to discuss which instrument they choose. You can
choose from one of two days to meet with Mr. & Mrs. Wolf to select an instrument. April 19 or April 23 from
4:00 – 6:60 PM. You do not need to make an appointment, first come, first serve. We will meet in the FJH band
room (#115). If your child is interested in percussion, please be sure to read the last paragraph on page two of this
The students begin their experience with our Summer Band Program which meets for three weeks starting June 11
through June 29. Each instrument will meet for one hour between the times of 10-2. Specific class times and
additional information on this program will be provided when we meet in April to discuss your instrument choice.
To begin your students experience with the award winning FJH Bands sign them up for Beginning Band when
they register for junior high. If your student has already played an instrument for at least a year you will need to
arrange for them to play for us to determine if they are skilled enough to perform in one of our advanced ensembles.
I am excited at the prospect of working with your student and allowing them the opportunity to explore the many
benefits that playing an instrument has to offer. If you have any questions please contact us at 402-6928. We will be
glad to answer any questions you may have.
Heath C. Wolf Christine Wolf
Director of Bands Assistant Director of Bands
The flute is a popular instrument in the woodwind family. Due to its popularity future musical opportunities may be limited because too many students choose this
instrument. For example in a 70 member band you would want a maximum of 10 flutes.
Clarinet (the violins of the band)
A band needs a large number of clarinets. Later, many clarinetists expand their musical opportunities by learning to play other woodwind instruments in addition to the
clarinet. Any student who is interested in playing the saxophone must start on clarinet.
Oboe & Bassoon (the double reeds)
Oboe and bassoon are instruments that present special musical challenges. Gifted students often find these attractive. You will typically have no more than two oboes
and bassoons in a band.
The highest pitched of the brass instruments. Sometimes there are too many trumpets. When this happens some trumpets decide to play the French horn, tuba, or
The French horn or horn, much like the double reeds presents special musical challenges. It is a very important instrument that typically is played by the more musically
Future musical opportunities are more abundant on this instrument than most. Many players later learn to play the baritone and/or tuba in addition to the trombone.
Percussion is often the most misunderstood instrument. Many students are under the false impression that they will be playing drums and or drum set all of the time. In
reality the beginning percussionists spend the majority of the first year on the bell kit. Percussionists are expected to learn all of the percussion instruments which
include mallets (bells, vibes, marimba, xylophone, and chimes), drums (snare, bass, and toms), timpani, auxiliary percussion (triangle, tambourine, claves, etc.) There is
more responsibility and pressure put on the percussionists than any other instrument. Students must be self motivated, hard working, dedicated, mature, and able to
work in small groups or alone without constant supervision. Any student interested in playing percussion must attend the instrument registration session in order to even
be considered for percussion. During that time students will demonstrate their knowledge of note names (treble & bass clef), note values, time signatures, key
signatures, and other basic music theory concepts. A maximum of 8 beginning percussionists will be allowed in the percussion class this year. Students who are not
selected to play percussion are invited to select another instrument with the help of Mr. Wolf.
***See Paragraph Below if you are interested in percussion.
Important considerations when choosing an instrument.
Your body shape and design. Your body may not agree with your 1st choice of instrument. For example if you have full lips you are going to find
it harder to succeed on the french horn or trumpet.
Which instrument will allow you the most opportunities? If you choose a popular instrument you will have to be one of the very best players in
order to reach your goals. For example the top ensemble at Davis High School takes 8 flutes. You would be competing against over 50 other
players for one of eight positions. A band is a lot like a sports team. Each position must be filled in order to be successful. It is in your best
interest to choose an instrument that fits you and that is needed in the ensemble. Just like a football team only needs one quarterback at a time a
band also needs a specific number of players on each instrument.
What instrument you are interested in. This actually has less influence than any reason. Since you probably have no experience on a band
instrument you have know idea what the challenges of the instrument are. The instrument you think you want to play may be the worst choice
physically. Have an open mind and think about the long term goals of playing an instrument. There is something to be said for motivation but that
will only last a short while if the instrument you have chosen is not suited to you.
The Worst Reasons to Choose an Instrument
Every person in my family has played the same instrument. Music is not genetic. Just because one family member is suited to or has success
on an instrument does not mean another family member will also.
We already own it. While cost is certainly an issue it should not be the deciding factor. A student who is not physically suited to play an
instrument will struggle, fall behind, get frustrated, and ultimately quit. If you already own an instrument that is not suited to your student many of
the area music stores accept trades or will buy your instrument. This would allow you to choose an appropriate instrument and not lose your initial
All of my friends are going to play the (clarinet, etc.) The friendships made in band will last a lifetime. You will spend countless hours
practicing, rehearsing, and performing together. Playing a different instrument than a friend will not hurt your friendship; it will probably help it by
eliminating the competition that naturally comes within any section of the band.
I want an instrument that will fit in my backpack. If you can’t find the motivation to carry home an instrument that won’t fit in your back pack
you probably don’t have the motivation to play any instrument.
The Bottom Line
My goal is to get every student on the instrument that they have the best chance of succeeding on. Playing an instrument is challenging enough
without placing avoidable hurdles in front of the student such as picking an instrument that the student will have physical problems playing. I have
listed some considerations that should be discussed between student and parent. When I meet with each student and parent please have at least
two instruments in mind as possibilities for the 7th grade year.
***Percussion- All potential percussion students must take a written evaluation before being selected into the percussion section. This evaluation
will ONLY be offered on Thursday, April 19th at 6:30pm and Monday, April 23rd at 6:30pm. No parents are allowed in the room during this
evaluation. You are welcome to come to the band room with them and discuss with us the student’s second instrument choice and fill out all
necessary documents, however the evaluation will be done without parents present. If you are not available for these evaluations at the given times,
your student will not be considered for percussion.